The ULU Yoga Blog

by Edward J. Pawlak, ULU Yoga

The ironic thing about my best and worst Thailand aerial yoga training is that it’s about the same person. KK from Pakistan was an unexpected challenge and blessing.
She had been teaching yoga for over 18 years and had just completed aerial yoga teacher training in Bali prior to signing up for my Aerial yoga course in Thailand, December 2016. And so I felt great pressure to meet her standards. And to top that all off there was another advanced Aerial Yoga teacher from America who had completed several aerial silk yoga courses and most recently an Ashtanga 200 hour yoga Teacher Training in Thailand.

Thailand Aerial Yoga Training Grows Up

In December 2016 my aerial yoga teacher training courses in Thailand started to become popular. Suddenly I had people booking online from all over the world for January, February and March. Up until then I only had two or three people a month joining my aerial yoga training. But this all changed drastically when I switched my target focus from Aerial Yoga TTC to Thailand Yoga Retreats.

Thailand Aerial Yoga School Goes into the Jungle

My homemade aerial yoga school could only fit four people, and I had very little money, but my friend told me about an abandoned yoga shala in the jungle that I could rent for almost nothing. It had been neglected for many years and was a disgusting mess with beer bottles and trash everywhere. It took me weeks to clean up and remodel. But even then after all that my little Thailand aerial yoga school was still a bit of an embarrassment with its broken walls and plastic taped up everywhere.

The Princess

My aerial silk yoga training student was a young American coming from India. So I knew he was strong and adventurous and would easily adapt to the conditions. But KK, as I soon found out, was a bit of a princess. At that time I was still a rugged backpacker. And so I was shocked to learn that KK was staying in a five-star resort on the beach.

Hard Work and Sweat

In many ways KK and I were complete opposites. I have been traveling south east Asia for 10 years and have built my aerial yoga teacher training courses with nothing but my own hard work and sweat. Kk on the other hand was married to a successful photographer at 17 years old and for 20 years lived as a pampered housewife. She had never even been to a post office!

Milk and Sugar

KK’s hotel was only a two minute drive from my aerial yoga studio in Thailand, but she insisted that I pick her up every morning. She also insisted on having breakfast before class. So I had to adjust the entire week’s schedule to accommodate her. Every five minutes was another complaint. Like there was no milk and sugar for the tea. But I stood strong  and insisted that sweets were no good during an aerial yoga teacher training course.

Delivery Boy

With all of her complaints and demands I expected KK to be a terrible aerial yoga student. During the week long yoga teacher training KK did as she was instructed in class as her culture has a high respect for teachers. But outside class I found my break time monopolized by running around the island fetching her SIM cards, cosmetics and snacks.

The Aerialist

Finally the aerial yoga teaching exam came. The American went first. He was an advanced ashtangi still high from his 200 hr yoga teacher training course. He was incredibly strong and even traveled the world with an aerial yoga hammock in his backpack. Although he liked the aerial yoga swing which I created. While his class was superb, he barely looked at the other students while they struggled to follow along with him.

The Teacher

KK on the other hand gave one of the best aerial yoga teacher training classes I had seen in three years. Her attention to detail and personalized instruction and adjustments were indisputable. And during that 60 minutes both of our lives would change forever.

Happy X-Mass

The day just happened to be Christmas Eve. Another five star resort from the next beach over had invited me to their high class party. While I was greatly impressed with KK’s aerial yoga exam, I still found her to be painfully insufferable. But I had no other option so I invited her to the party.

North Face and High Heels

I was just a dirty jungle hippie who owned one pair of North Face trousers, which actually broke during the party. KK on the other hand, despite being a traveler on a relatively undeveloped island attending an aerial yoga teacher training, had brought along high heels, jewelry and a party dress. I am an extremist myself. And so again I was impressed by KK’s effortless ability to adapt from a sweaty aerial yoga teacher training student to a high society socialite.

Best Yoga Retreat in Thailand

At the party KK told me she had attended the best yoga retreats in Thailand plus several 200 hour yoga teacher training courses in Thailand and a yoga teacher training in Ubud. She insisted that my aerial yoga training was the best yoga certificate course ever. She loved my aerial yoga swing much better than the aerial yoga hammock she had just practiced with on her aerial yoga teacher training in Bali. 

Yoga Queen

Truly I was shocked and speechless to receive the best feedback ever from someone, who up until then I had rudely and unfairly scolded for her childishness. She was simply a mature woman who was used to being treated as the queen, that deep inside, she truly was.

A Hard Task

From then on I insisted that she go home and bring aerial yoga training to Pakistan. She shyly refused saying she needed more time and experience. I knew this was wrong and that she only lacked a little confidence and support so I pushed her more and demanded she begin teaching aerial yoga within three months. I gave her my aerial yoga swing and sent her off with well wishes, stern orders a hard task ahead for a woman in Pakistan.

Pakistan Superstars

But KK surpassed all my expectations. She was soon teaching aerial yoga classes and giving aerial yoga workshops. She became famous for bringing aerial yoga to Pakistan and appeared on the radio and television, which to my total shock featured pictures and videos of me. And suddenly we were both Aerial superstars and friends forever.

Friends Forever

Two years later I invited KK back to instruct on my Thailand yoga retreat and aerial yoga teacher training in Bali. I am blessed to have met her and look forward to continuing growing and developing together on our Aerial Yoga training paths

Ulu Contributor

Ulu Contributor

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